The Sydney Roosters have justified their tag as competition favourites after defeating the Newcastle Knight 38-12 in an exciting match at Hunter Stadium in front of 22,847 fans.
The match hung in the balance until the 73rd minute when Boyd Cordner scored to extend the Roosters' lead to 10.
The intensity of the match was apparent from the opening minutes with the forward packs from both sides clearly lifting.
Sonny Bill Williams and Willie Mason made apparent there was no love lost. between the two former teammates. The two clashed on several occasions early culminating in Williams being placed on report for a shoulder charge on Mason.
Shaun Kenny Dowall opened up the scoring the 18th minute of a Mitchell Pearce bomb which was too much for the Knights'. James Maloney added the extras to give the Roosters a six-point-lead.
It was opposition player Darius Boyd scoring off a Pearce bomb only three minutes later, Boyd plucked the Pearce bomb out of the air 15 out from his own line before racing 85 metres to score. Tyrone Roberts added the extras to level the scores.
It was Michael Jennings scoring against the run of play in the 31st minute, the NSW centre, intercepted a Jarrod Mullen pass 10 out from the Roosters' line before racing away to score. Maloney added the extras.
The Roosters took that six-point lead into half-time. Boyd did not have the same luck diffusing Pearce's bombs in the second half, the Knights fullback knocked on a Pearce kick 10 out from his own line. An Isaac Liu offload and some clever play from Daniel Mortimer saw Sam Moa go over the tryline. Maloney added the extras to extend the Roosters' lead to 12.
Despite trailing by 12-points the Knights never looked out of the match and it looked like an upset might be on the cards when James McManus went over the in the corner. However a failed conversion from Roberts took a little pressure of the Roosters.
After four back-to-back penalties a few metres out from the Roosters' line, the Knights opted to go the the two in the 69th minute to narrow the margin to six.
A penalty against the Knights a few minutes later put the Roosters on the attack for the first time in awhile and the Roosters didn't waste opportunity, after forcing a line drop out at the end of the set James Maloney put Cordner into a cap to all but seal the win.
A short kick off almost paid of for the Knights, but an accidental offside following a dropped ball from Robbie Rochow gave posession and the game to the Roosters.
Williams put the icing on the cake in the 77th minute minute with a try.
Both sides will back be backing up on Friday, the Knights will be back at Hunter Stadium to host the Broncos, while the Roosters take on the Panthers.
Newcastle Knights 12 Sydney Roosters 28
Venue: Newcastle International Sports Centre
Halftime Score: Sydney Roosters 12-6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
2 points - Jake Friend
1 point - Darius Boyd
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (12)
Tries: Darius Boyd, James McManus
Conversions: Tyrone Roberts (1/2)
Penalty Goals: Tyrone Roberts (1/1)
SYDNEY ROOSTERS (28)
Tries: Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Michael Jennings, Sam Moa, Boyd Cordner, Sonny Bill Williams
Conversions: James Maloney (4/5)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Interchange: 8. David Fa'alogo 14. Craig Gower 15. Chris Houston 16. Neville Costigan
Roosters: 1. Anthony Minichiello 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 5. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 6. James Maloney 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Luke O'Donnell 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Sonny Bill Williams 13. Frank Paul Nuuausala
Interchange: 14. Daniel Mortimer 15. Mitchell Aubusson 17. Sam Moa 19. Isaac Liu
Both sides have been in fine form lately and this afternoon's match is promising to be a ripper. A win for the Newcastle Knights will see them climb to fifth spot on the ladder on the back of their impressive differential. As for the Roosters, a win keeps them with in two competition points of the competition leaders the Rabbitohs.
Scored by Shaun Kenny-Dowall. Conversion attempt by James Maloney successful.
TRY! Mitchell Pearce puts up a bomb 32 out from the Knights' line on the last and Shaun Kenny-Dowall snatches the ball from the grasp of James McManus and scores. Maloney adds the extras.
Sydney Roosters 6-0
Scored by Darius Boyd. Conversion attempt by Tyrone Roberts successful.
TRY! Darius Boyd catches a Pearce bomb on his own 15 metre line and he races 85 metres to scores. Roberts kicks difficult conversion.
Akuila Uate makes an unforced error.
Akuila Uate knocks on a Pearce bomb and the Roosters will feed a scrum 10 metres out from the Knights' line.
Scored by Michael Jennings. Conversion attempt by James Maloney successful.
TRY! Michael Jennings intercepts a Mullen pass on his own 20 metre line and races 80 metres to score under the posts. Maloney adds the extras.
Sydney Roosters 12-6
Craig Gower makes an unforced error.
Crag Gower is pinned for a forward pass on his own 40.
Darius Boyd makes an unforced error.
Boyd knocks a Pearce bomb on and the Roosters will get a scrum ten out from Knights' line.
Scored by Sam Moa. Conversion attempt by James Maloney successful.
TRY! Issaac Liu draws in three defenders and offloads to Mortimer who passes to Moa who crashes over under the posts. Maloney's conversion attempt from right in front is in.
Sydney Roosters 18-6
Scored by James McManus. Conversion attempt by Tyrone Roberts unsuccessful.
TRY! The Knights spread it out wide through Roberts and Boyd to Mcmanus who scores in the corner. Roberts fails to convert.
Sydney Roosters 18-10
Penalty goal attempt by Tyrone Roberts successful.
The Knights opt to go for the two this time and Roberts kicks it from right in front.
Sydney Roosters 18-12
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves makes an unforced error.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves spills the ball 30 out from the line and the Knights' are off the hook.
Tyrone Roberts makes an unforced error.
Tyrone Roberts knocks the ball forward on halfway and the Roosters will go on the attack again.
Scored by Boyd Cordner. Conversion attempt by James Maloney unsuccessful.
TRY! James Maloney puts Boyd Cordner into a gap 20 out from the try line and Cordner runs to the try line. Maloney's conversion attempt from the sideline is unsuccessful.
Sydney Roosters 22-12
Robbie Rochow makes an unforced error.
Knights opt for the short kick off and they get the ball back but Rochow knocks it on.
Scored by Sonny Bill Williams. Conversion attempt by James Maloney successful.
TRY! Sonny Bill Williams twists and turns in a tackle and scores to the right of the up right. Maloney adds the extras.
Sydney Roosters 28-12
Mitchell Pearce makes an unforced error.
Mitchell Pearce loses the ball 35 out. There's 45 seconds left by the time the scrum is packed.